Apologizing in relationships is important. People get hurt in relationships. Some of us even get upset. For those of us who get angry and perhaps push our partners away, apologizing is an especially critical tool for reconnecting. Here’s why.
We Process Emotions in Very Different Ways
When you get into misunderstandings or disagreements with your mate, what do you do? All of us have a reaction, and that is normal. People will not always understand each other even if they love each other dearly. And when the misunderstandings occur, most of us get our feelings hurt.
Sometimes those hurt feelings cause us to either pull our hurt feelings inside ourselves and say nothing. Other times, we do the opposite and lash out at those who hurt our feelings. This combination of systems plays out often in relationships.
Some people think that the one who is quiet with their feelings is better off, because they usually don’t cause a mess. I am not one of these people. When my feelings get hurt, there usually is a reaction that follows.
Hurt Can Become Anger, Necessitating Apologizing in Relationships
I know I am not alone; there are a lot of people just like me. We are wounded so deeply by the person who is supposed to love us and know us that we go into a blind rage. This happens to some of us too. I know that’s what I used to do: go blindly raging.
But over time I have learned to do some healing on my own, even though subconsciously I wish my partner would always know what I need and want and will forever be available to comfort me. This is the part of me that wishes for someone to save me. But the adult part of me knows I have to save myself.
Your Partner Can’t Read Your Mind, and That’s Okay
My partner can’t ever know what it is like to be me. Even if I explain in the most detailed way he will still never really know. I have come to understand that. So, when my feelings get really hurt, he is unaware of what happened. He can probably see by my reaction that I am unhappy, but he does not have any clue as to how it feels inside of me.
I have had to learn this over time. I now help other people learn this for themselves. It is a bitter tasting pill to realize that we are alone in this world with our pains and problems. We can feel soothed by our special person and they soothe us because they love us. But we are not going to be fully understood when we are suffering.
Self-Soothing and Apologizing in Relationships Helps You Reconnect More Effectively
And that is what is helpful to realize. If I am upset, I can soothe myself. I can learn what is happening to me and take care of myself. And part of taking care of myself is seeing what I do when I sometimes throw up my anger on people I adore.
I don’t do it on purpose, and I was probably really hurt before I did the acting out thing. Even so, if I bothered or hurt someone in this state, then it’s up to me to make amends. I have learned this too. I must apologize to my mate because I know he didn’t try and hurt me intentionally. And if I hurt him because I am in pain, well when I have soothed myself, I always say, “Sorry for my outburst. I didn’t mean it.” This is usually enough. He is very receptive.
And saying you are sorry for your big emotions not only makes you feel better, it tells your mate that you are mindful of their feelings too. It illustrates that you understand that when you are big, you can have an impact. It tells them their feelings matter to you.
And it really works. Say you are sorry for going big when you get hurt. It does something special between two people. And that special is what we all are hungry for, our connection with the other.
Need Help Apologizing in Relationships?
Read a Book About Relationships
Learn how you can apologize more effectively in your relationship by reading Linda’s book Safe. Happy. Loved. Simple Skills for Your Relationship. It might just help improve your communication and ability to understand one another, helping the two of you feel happier and more harmonious. Give it a read.
Get Couples Counseling
Come in for couples counseling. Couples counseling can help you and your loved one get the most out of your relationship. It'll equip you with coping strategies and tools for communication that can help you argue less and love more.